Stars and stripes
Memorial Day is observed every year on the last Monday in May and serves as the unofficial kickoff to Summer (with Labor Day marking the end). Not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is in honor of all veterans, Memorial Day is a day of remembering those that died while serving. Below are 11 movies (and 2 TV shows) to watch this Memorial Day weekend that you can watch to commemorate those that have passed:
1. Casablanca (1942)
Set during WWII, Humphrey Bogart stars as nightclub owner Rick Blaine. Out of nowhere, an old flame comes back into his life with her husband. Ilsa, played by Ingrid Berman, is a famed rebel and with the Germans on his tail... Rick does everything he can to get her out of the country. Here's looking at you, kid.
2. The Hurt Locker (2008)
It follows Jeremy Renner as Sergeant First Class William James, a member of the EOD, during the Iraq War. Demonstrating the challenges of war along with the difficulties of being reintroduced to civilian life, The Hurt Locker offers an alternative POV from the Iraq War.
3. Dunkirk (2017)
Focusing on three different perspectives (air, sea, land), Christopher Nolan uses very little dialogue to create suspense in this 2017 drama. In 1940, during the Battle of France, hundreds of thousands of Allied troops have retreated to Dunkirk (including Harry Styles). With the British fleet severely depleted, civilians surrender their crafts in order to help the surviving soldiers.
4. Apocalypse Now (1979)
It's been noted for the problems that plagued production (including an uncooperative Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen suffering a near fatal heart attack). Set during the Vietnam War, it follows Walter E. Kurtz in a retelling of the classic book Heart of Darkness.
5. Zero Dark Thirty (2013)
Following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden becomes one of the most-wanted men on the planet. It is the work of a dedicated female operative that proves instrumental in finally locating bin Laden. In May 2011, Navy SEALs launch a nighttime strike, killing bin Laden in his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
6. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
The Sole Survivor Policy describes a set of regulations in the Military of the United States that are designed to protect members of a family from the draft or from combat duty if they have already lost family members in military service. When Private James Ryan's three brothers are killed during active duty, Captain John Miller takes a team of men behind enemy lines to bring him home.
7. The Imitation Game (2014)
In 1939, newly created British intelligence agency MI6 recruits Alan Turing to crack Nazi codes, including Enigma -- which cryptanalysts had thought unbreakable. Turing's team analyze Enigma messages while he builds a machine to decipher them. In 1952, it is revealed that Turing is gay and according to laws of the time is sentenced to jail.
8. Glory (1989)
A departure from the other entries on this list, Glory is an account of the first all African-American regiment during the Civil War. It follows Colonel Robert Shaw as he is appointed commanding officer of the unit and what follows after.
9. Inglorious Basterds (2009)
If you've ever asked the question, what happens when Quentin Tarantino directs a WWII film.... this is your answer. The film tells an alternate history of two plots to assassinate Hitler.
10. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987)
Radio host Adrian Cronauer is sent to Vietnam to bring a little comedy back into the lives of the soldiers. After setting up shop, Cronauer delights the G.I.s but shocks his superior officer, with his take on the war. While Dickerson attempts to censor Cronauer's broadcasts, Cronauer pursues a relationship with a Vietnamese girl named Trinh, who shows him the horrors of war first-hand.
11. 1941 (1979)
While the other entries on this list are dramas (or a dramedy in the case of Good Morning, Vietnam), 1941 is included to lighten the mood you're probably in after watching all these movies. Loosely based on the Great Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942, the movie stars Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi and was helmed by Spielberg so you know you're in for a good time.
Bonus1: Band of Brothers (2001)
The miniseries tells the story of Easy Company, 506th Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division, U.S. Army. Based on interviews with survivors of Easy Company, as well as soldiers' journals and letters, it chronicles the experiences of these young men. A joint effort between Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, it's one of the greatest military miniseries to exist.
Bonus 2: The Pacific (2010)
My personal favorite, The Pacific features the 1st Marine Division's battles in the Pacific, such as Guadalcanal, Cape Gloucester, Peleliu, and Okinawa, as well as their involvement in the Battle of Iwo Jima. It follows the same narrative style as Band of Brothers and can almost be considered a sequel.
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